Quick Facts for Losing Weight Naturally

Quick Facts for Losing Weight Naturally

When it comes to losing weight, you'll likely face many decisions. There are so many options for losing weight, such as weight loss supplements, organic components, exercise, and healthier eating habits, you can easily get confused or discouraged in the journey. But losing weight naturally with all of the above factors working together seems to be the best way to get rid of those unwanted pounds. Let's explore these options.

Discover the Reason You're Not Losing

Before you can lose weight, you should first try to discover the reason you are not losing.

Write the following heading on a piece of paper: Why I don't lose weight.

Then, list possible reasons for not losing weight. Some of these include poor blood sugar regulation, under active thyroid, overeating, lack of sleep, viral infections, lack of exercise, and slow metabolism. To lose weight the healthy way, you can use the process of elimination to discover which of these hinders your weight loss.

Blood sugar regulation means controlling the amount of sugar and refined carbohydrates you take into your body. When your blood sugar levels are too high, this causes you to be hungry and encourages your body to store fat instead of burning it. Test this by reducing sugar intake for a month or two and see if this boosts your weight loss. If you plan to take a supplement, probably the best weight loss supplement to look for is one that will help you regulate blood sugar levels. Some supplements also supply ATP (adenosine triphosphate), a phosphate molecule that is a source of high energy for the body.

Next, add exercise to your daily routine if you're not already active. If you already exercise, try going a little longer each day. Make a few small changes to your eating habits such as eating fresh fruit as a snack instead of candy or snack cakes, grilling, baking, or steaming foods instead of frying them, or dining out less for several weeks. Also, reduce portion sizes for each meal little by little. And, be sure to get plenty of sleep every day so your body can function normally.

If none of these seem to help boost your weight loss, you might need to see a doctor to find out if there's a viral infection, thyroid issue, or any other health problem that could hinder your weight loss.

How to Lose Weight Safely with a Weight Loss Supplement

Once you've answered the question “why can't I lose weight?” you might want to try a weight loss supplement as well. But be very careful. Some weight loss pills are unhealthy and can even be dangerous. Be aware of the chemicals and ingredients they contain. Thankfully, there are natural weight loss supplements that provide healthy ingredients for your weight loss efforts such as caraluma fimbriata (cactus plant to suppress appetite), Chinese green tea, and other organic components. You might also find a supplement that helps with other needs such as DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol), a chemical linked to memory that is found in fish.

As with any supplement, consult a doctor before trying something new, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions or take prescription medication.

Losing weight naturally is the safest way. Use the guide above to determine why you're not losing weight and how you can make lasting changes for better health.

Common Symptoms for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Common Symptoms for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Unlike other types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is actually an autoimmune disease. The immune system of a patient with rheumatoid arthritis turns on its own, specifically attacking the joints and other surrounding tissue. In a way, rheumatoid arthritis could be likened to allergies but with starkly different symptoms. While the common symptoms of allergies include runny nose, itchiness of the eyes, and skin rash, the common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis include inflammation in the lining of the joints and pain in the affected areas.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that affects more than two million people, usually between the ages of 20 and 25. Additionally, the common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis occur in all races and ethnic groups, regardless of age or sex, although it appears that the disease affects two to three times as many women as men.

Diagnosis

Since the common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis differ from patient to patient, there is no single method of making accurate diagnosis. Moreover, the symptoms tend to develop overtime, making it even more difficult to identify the disease early on. To determine the existence of the common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis, health care professionals apply a variety of methods from blood testing to X-rays. Aside from identifying the common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis, these methods are also used to rule out other conditions that may display more or less the same symptoms.

The other factors that health care practitioners often take into account when diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis include:

* Medical history
* Physical examinations
* Laboratory tests
* X-rays

After Diagnosis, Now what?

After a patient is diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, the next step is to learn as much as you can about the disease in order to understand it. First up, you need to understand that early detection of the common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis s often the key to helping you live longer despite the disease. Remember that there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis and that as the person ages, the symptoms may grow worse. However, if you identify these common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis early on and undergo aggressive treatment, you increase your chance of living a long and healthy normal life.

Dealing with the Pain

One of the most common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis is joint pain. Usually this is accompanied by some degree of depression, anxiety, and feelings of helplessness. Most patients who suffer joint pain also suffer morning stiffness in and around the joints. Sometimes the pain becomes too much to bear that patients refuse to move as motion will only serve to aggravate the pain.

However, recent studies show that exercise can actually alleviate some of the common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis. Constant motion balanced with a good diet and plenty of rest will ease the pain that comes with this debilitating disease and help you live a better life.

Be advised that you should consult with your doctor first before attempting any strenuous exercise routines, as there are some types of exercises that arthritic patients should not do.

Why Is It So Difficult To Lose Weight After 30?

Why Is It So Difficult To Lose Weight After 30?

Have you tried to lose weight after 30? Wasn’t that more difficult than ever before? Guess what? It’s even more difficult after 40! Have you ever wondered why your body reacts differently to the same regimes you apply in different stages of your life?

People that have never had a weight problem get flabbier after 30 without clear explanation. They start exercising and they don’t see any improvement. They eat less, and they still don’t achieve any significant change. What they don’t take into consideration is the aging impact on their body.

Aging is a Reason for Gaining Weight and the Obstacle to Losing Weight
There are more than 20 theories about aging but the most researched one is the “Free Radicals” theory. Free radicals are atoms or molecules in which at least one electron is unpaired causing an instability (a stable atom contains a balance of paired electrons which encircle the nucleus).

This instability causes the electrons to be very reactive – they bond easily with healthy molecules and damage them. According to the free radicals theory, this damage is what causes you to age and to become vulnerable to certain diseases.

The most common free radical is an oxygen radical, which occurs in the mitochondria when an unpaired electron interacts with oxygen. Mitochondria are your cellular power plants, the tiny structures in your cells that provide energy in the chemical form of ATP. This is your “fuel” for all your life functions. It helps your heart to pump and your lungs to distribute oxygen when you breathe.

When free radicals are formed in the mitochondria, they reduce the power of your cellular power plants to produce energy efficiently. You are not running out of energy because you’re aging. You are aging because you are running out of energy. Free radicals gradually shut down your power as if you are slowly turning off a light dimmer.

Free Radicals and Energy Reduction are the Roots of Most Aging Problems
Without energy your metabolic rate drops causing you to accumulate more body fat. You are losing muscle mass, bone mass, facial collagen and you are tired even when you have over-slept.

Energy reduction at the cellular level also decreases the hormone secretion in your glands. The most abundant hormone in the body is DHEA. It is known as the “mother of all hormones” because it is involved in manufacturing of other hormones, especially the sexual hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

DHEA peeks at the age of 20 but afterwards declines sharply so at age 45 you have 50% of your high peek DHEA, and at the age of 65 you have only 10-20% of what you had at age 20. As the mother of all hormones DHEA represents a decline in other hormones as Human Growth Hormone, (HGH), Testosterone (in men), estrogen and progesterone (in women).

Studies show that as lower your hormone level is, as higher your tendency to accumulate fat.

Weight gain after 30 is a result of a vicious cycle of aging. Aggressive free-radicals decrease energy production which decreases hormone level and your metabolic rate to levels that most diets cannot help.

Anti-Aging Can Support Weight Loss by Neutralizing Free-Radicals
The most common way to fight free radicals is by increasing significantly antioxidants in your body. Your body produces antioxidants naturally or it gets it from food like fruit and vegetables.

Antioxidants are form of enzymes that attack free radicals by attaching to the unpaired electron and neutralize it. There are 2 kinds of antioxidants:

The first type patrols the body, blocking the formation of free radicals.
The second type disarms the already existing free radical before they bind with healthy molecules.

Studies show that today’s fruit and vegetables are not rich in antioxidants as few decades ago. It is impossible to get the recommended level without supplements as multi-vitamin, vitamin C, and vitamin E in the right dosages. But this by itself doesn’t make the difference. No one lose weight just by taking antioxidants.

Anti-Aging Can Support Weight Loss by Boosting Energy in Your Cells
You can increase your cells energy if you exercise regularly and supplement your food with energizers. Energizers are vitamins and minerals that increase the energy production in your cells. Well studied energizers are Lipoic Acid, Chromium Picolinate, Coenzyme Q-10, and others. Cardio training is the best exercise to boost your cellular energy. Cardio training is what you may know as aerobic exercise like jogging, cycling, rowing or other activities that ramp your heart rate.

Anti-Aging Can Support Weight Loss by Increasing Hormone Level and Accelerating Metabolic Rate

An expensive and still questionable way to increase your hormones is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Hormone replacement therapy must be recommended and supervised by a doctor. But criticizers recommend staying away and not messing with the side effect risks of hormones.

You can boost your hormone level significantly without a doctor and for free if you engage in resistance training like free weights, weight machines, bands, cables or even body weight.

Studies show without a doubt that resistance training stimulates secretion of HGH and testosterone. But that’s not all. Resistance training has many other benefits. It helps to gain muscle and reverses the aging damage of losing muscle. The more muscles you have, the more fat you burn because mussel growth accelerate you metabolic rate.

Aging is Not an Obstacle Anymore to Weight Loss
You reverse your aging damages backward and slow your aging forward when you burn fat and gain muscle. You can accelerate this process by reducing free-radicals and increase energy production using supplements. But there is no way to achieve it without special exercises that boost hormone level and nutrition that decreases blood sugar.

Tennis Elbow Treatment

Tennis Elbow Treatment

How do you cure tennis elbow? First you have to know what causes it and how it happens. Tennis elbow involves injury to the extensor muscles of your forearm and its tendon origin. You have to be aware of the tissues that you have injured to eliminate the symptoms. The elbow is a hinge joint allowing both flexion and extension. The bone structure and its ligaments make its function stable. Tennis involves repeated gripping and twisting movements which work your extensor muscles. If repetitive micro-trauma is placed on the tissues, these tissues are unable to cope up which results to muscle tear on this area.

Tennis elbow treatment for tennis elbow injury varies, depending on the severity of the injury. Some treatment may include stopping or limiting activities that causes the pain, in these cases a band is wrapped around the forearm near the elbow or a wrist sprint is recommended and are used to protect the injured muscles as they heal.

Other primary tennis elbow treatment includes; anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), injections, and by the treatment called R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). But these tennis elbow treatments however can just treat the symptoms but not the main cause of the injury. In severe cases, an injection of medication into the injured area can relieve the pain. Surgeons recommend exercises such as stretching and strengthening the muscles to help stop the condition from returning. Some go through therapy and as the condition improves they gradually return to normal activities. This condition however is recurring in most cases. If the non- surgical forms of tennis elbow treatment do not work, then surgery may be recommended.

Here are categories of tennis elbow treatment: reducing pain, which includes the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; reducing inflammation, by putting packs of ice on the injured area combined with compression and elevation; inducing the healing process; maintaining fitness, by rehabilitation of the injured area through exercise; and control force placed on injured tissues, such as tennis elbow braces and wrist sprint.

A new form of possible tennis elbow treatment has arise, one is called Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy, wherein sound waves are used to induce so called ‘micro-trauma’ to tissues that initiates a healing response and helps to decrease inflammation. Another is Autologous Blood Injection, were in the Journal of Hand Surgery reported the results of a small group of patients who underwent injection of their own blood into the location of lateral epicondylitis with the underlying idea that the blood injection supplies the necessary healing components to help cure the problem.

The Truth About Herbs

The Truth About Herbs

Have you taken echinacea to stay healthy through the winter, ginseng for more energy or valerian to ensure restful sleep? If so, you're not alone. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, more than 38 million Americans take herbal supplements. With more Americans using herbs to improve their health, it's important to know how to choose and use them safely.

“Herbs may play an important role in overall health and well-being, but many people are still learning what works and what should stay on the shelf,” said registered dietitian Lynn Laboranti, M.S. “Consumers should do their homework and talk to their doctor about what herbs are right for them.”

What do you know about herbs? To test your herbal IQ, Laboranti poses the following questions:

Q: Can echinacea boost immunity?

A: Several scientific studies have shown echinacea to be an effective, natural way to boost immunity. When taken at the first sign of not feeling well, echinacea helps stimulate the body's natural defense system. Echinacea should not be taken for more than eight weeks at a time.

Q: What does St. John's wort do?

A: Clinical and laboratory research has earned St. John's wort a growing reputation as an herb that helps enhance mood. It has few side effects, but may cause light sensitivity and decrease the effectiveness of some prescription medications. It's important to talk to a health care professional before using St. John's wort or other herbal supplements if you take prescription drugs.

Q: Does soy relieve menopause symptoms?

A: Soy contains naturally occurring isoflavones, which have been shown to help relieve menopause-related hot flashes and night sweats. Soy foods and soy isoflavones also help support hormonal balance in women during the menopausal years. Experts recommend 30 to 65 mg of soy isoflavones (5-8 ounces of soy milk or 1 to 2 soy tablets) daily to receive a full benefit.

If you choose to take herbs in tablet form, Laboranti recommends reading a product's label for additional safety and dosage information. Nature's Resource herbal supplements, found at drugstores like CVS and Walgreens, feature an extended, multipage safety label on the bottle. The booklet, called “Herbal ABCs,” contains extensive information on the specific supplement, drug/herb interactions, contraindications, adverse effects, allergy warnings and special safety instructions.

Overview of What Arthritis Is

Overview of What Arthritis Is

Unlike osteoarthritis, which results from wear and tear on your joints, rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition. The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but it's believed to be the body's immune system attacking the tissue that lines your joints (synovium).

Rheumatoid arthritis is two to three times more common in women than in men and generally strikes between the ages of 20 and 50. But rheumatoid arthritis can also affect young children and adults older than age 50.

There's no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. But with proper treatment, a strategy for joint protection and changes in lifestyle, you can live a long, productive life with this condition.

Signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may come and go over time. They include:

* Pain and swelling in your joints, especially in the smaller joints of your hands and feet

* Generalized aching or stiffness of the joints and muscles, especially after sleep or after periods of rest

* Loss of motion of the affected joints

* Loss of strength in muscles attached to the affected joints

* Fatigue, which can be severe during a flare-up

* Low-grade fever

* Deformity of your joints over time

* General sense of not feeling well (malaise)

Rheumatoid arthritis usually causes problems in several joints at the same time. Early in rheumatoid arthritis, the joints in your wrists, hands, feet and knees are the ones most often affected. As the disease progresses, your shoulders, elbows, hips, jaw and neck can become involved. It generally affects both sides of your body at the same time. The knuckles of both hands are one example.

Small lumps, called rheumatoid nodules, may form under your skin at pressure points and can occur at your elbows, hands, feet and Achilles tendons. Rheumatoid nodules may also occur elsewhere, including the back of your scalp, over your knee or even in your lungs. These nodules can range in size — from as small as a pea to as large as a walnut. Usually these lumps aren't painful.

In contrast to osteoarthritis, which affects only your bones and joints, rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation of tear glands, salivary glands, the linings of your heart and lungs, your lungs themselves and, in rare cases, your blood vessels.

Although rheumatoid arthritis is often a chronic disease, it tends to vary in severity and may even come and go. Periods of increased disease activity — called flare-ups or flares — alternate with periods of relative remission, during which the swelling, pain, difficulty sleeping, and weakness fade or disappear.

Swelling or deformity may limit the flexibility of your joints. But even if you have a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis, you'll probably retain flexibility in many joints.
Illustration comparing rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, involves the wearing away of the cartilage that caps the bones in your joints. With rheumatoid arthritis, the synovial membrane that protects and lubricates joints becomes inflamed, causing pain and swelling. Joint erosion may follow.
More On This Topic

* Osteoarthritis

Causes

As with other forms of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis involves inflammation of the joints. A membrane called the synovium lines each of your movable joints. When you have rheumatoid arthritis, white blood cells — whose usual job is to attack unwanted invaders, such as bacteria and viruses — move from your bloodstream into your synovium. Here, these blood cells appear to play an important role in causing the synovial membrane to become inflamed (synovitis).

This inflammation results in the release of proteins that, over months or years, cause thickening of the synovium. These proteins can also damage cartilage, bone, tendons and ligaments. Gradually, the joint loses its shape and alignment. Eventually, it may be destroyed.

Some researchers suspect that rheumatoid arthritis is triggered by an infection — possibly a virus or bacterium — in people with an inherited susceptibility. Although the disease itself is not inherited, certain genes that create an increased susceptibility are. People who have inherited these genes won't necessarily develop rheumatoid arthritis. But they may have more of a tendency to do so than others. The severity of their disease may also depend on the genes inherited. Some researchers also believe that hormones may be involved in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
Illustration showing inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis typically strikes joints, causing pain, swelling and deformity. As your synovial membranes become inflamed and thickened, fluid builds up and joints erode and degrade.
Risk factors

The exact causes of rheumatoid arthritis are unclear, but these factors may increase your risk:

* Getting older, because incidence of rheumatoid arthritis increases with age. However, incidence begins to decline in women over the age of 80.

* Being female.

* Being exposed to an infection, possibly a virus or bacterium, that may trigger rheumatoid arthritis in those with an inherited susceptibility.

* Inheriting specific genes that may make you more susceptible to rheumatoid arthritis.

* Smoking cigarettes over a long period of time.

When to seek medical advice

See your doctor if you have persistent discomfort and swelling in multiple joints on both sides of your body. Your doctor can work with you to develop a pain management and treatment plan. Also seek medical advice if you experience side effects from your arthritis medications. Side effects may include nausea, abdominal discomfort, black or tarry stools, changes in bowel habits, constipation and drowsiness.
Screening and diagnosis

If you have signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor will likely conduct a physical examination and request laboratory tests to determine if you have this form of arthritis. These tests may include:

* Blood tests. A blood test that measures your erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR or sed rate) can indicate the presence of an inflammatory process in your body. People with rheumatoid arthritis tend to have elevated ESRs. The ESRs in those with osteoarthritis tend to be normal.

Another blood test looks for an antibody called rheumatoid factor. Most people with rheumatoid arthritis eventually have this abnormal antibody, although it may be absent early in the disease. It's also possible to have the rheumatoid factor in your blood and not have rheumatoid arthritis.

* Imaging. Doctors may take X-rays of your joints to differentiate between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A sequence of X-rays obtained over time can show the progression of arthritis.

Complications

Rheumatoid arthritis causes stiffness and pain and may also cause fatigue. It can lead to difficulty with everyday tasks, such as turning a doorknob or holding a pen. Dealing with the pain and the unpredictability of rheumatoid arthritis can also cause symptoms of depression.

Rheumatoid arthritis may also increase your risk of developing osteoporosis, especially if you take corticosteroids. Some researchers believe that rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of heart disease. This may be because the inflammation that rheumatoid arthritis causes can also affect your arteries and heart muscle tissue.

In the past, people with rheumatoid arthritis may have ended up confined to a wheelchair because damage to joints made it difficult or impossible to walk. That's not as likely today because of better treatments and self-care methods.
More On This Topic

* Osteoporosis

Treatment

Treatments for arthritis have improved in recent years. Most treatments involve medications. But in some cases, surgical procedures may be necessary.

Medications

Medications for rheumatoid arthritis can relieve its symptoms and slow or halt its progression. They include:

* Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This group of medications, which includes aspirin, helps relieve both pain and inflammation if you take the drugs regularly. NSAIDs that are available over-the-counter include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve). These are available at higher dosages, and other NSAIDs are available by prescription — such as ketoprofen, naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn), tolmetin (Tolectin), diclofenac (Voltaren), nabumetone (Relafen) and indomethacin (Indocin). Taking NSAIDs can lead to side effects such as indigestion and stomach bleeding. Other potential side effects may include damage to the liver and kidneys, ringing in your ears (tinnitus), fluid retention and high blood pressure. NSAIDs, except aspirin, may also increase your risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke.

* COX-2 inhibitors. This class of NSAIDs may be less damaging to your stomach. Like other NSAIDs, COX-2 inhibitors — such as celecoxib (Celebrex) — suppress an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX) that's active in joint inflammation. Other types of NSAIDs work against two versions of the COX enzyme that are present in your body: COX-1 and COX-2. However, there's evidence that by suppressing COX-1, NSAIDs may cause stomach and other problems because COX-1 is the enzyme that protects your stomach lining. Unlike other NSAIDs, COX-2 inhibitors suppress only COX-2, the enzyme involved in inflammation. Side effects may include fluid retention and causing or exacerbating high blood pressure. Furthermore, this class of drugs has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

* Corticosteroids. These medications, such as prednisone and methylprednisolone (Medrol), reduce inflammation and pain, and slow joint damage. In the short term, corticosteroids can make you feel dramatically better. But when used for many months or years, they may become less effective and cause serious side effects. Side effects may include easy bruising, thinning of bones, cataracts, weight gain, a round face and diabetes. Doctors often prescribe a corticosteroid to relieve acute symptoms, with the goal of gradually tapering off the medication.

* Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Physicians prescribe DMARDs to limit the amount of joint damage that occurs in rheumatoid arthritis. Taking these drugs at early stages in the development of rheumatoid arthritis is especially important in the effort to slow the disease and save the joints and other tissues from permanent damage. Because many of these drugs act slowly — it may take weeks to months before you notice any benefit — DMARDs typically are used with an NSAID or a corticosteroid. While the NSAID or corticosteroid handles your immediate symptoms and limits inflammation, the DMARD goes to work on the disease itself. Some commonly used DMARDs include hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), the gold compound auranofin (Ridaura), sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), minocycline (Dynacin, Minocin) and methotrexate (Rheumatrex). Other forms of DMARDs include immunosuppressants and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers.

* Immunosuppressants. These medications act to tame your immune system, which is out of control in rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, some of these drugs attack and eliminate cells that are associated with the disease. Some of the commonly used immunosuppressants include leflunomide (Arava), azathioprine (Imuran), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan). These medications can have potentially serious side effects such as increased susceptibility to infection.

* TNF blockers. These are a class of DMARDs known as biologic response modifiers. TNF is a cytokine, or cell protein, that acts as an inflammatory agent in rheumatoid arthritis. TNF blockers, or anti-TNF medications, target or block this cytokine and can help reduce pain, morning stiffness and tender or swollen joints — usually within one or two weeks after treatment begins. There is evidence that TNF blockers may halt progression of disease. These medications often are taken with methotrexate. TNF blockers approved for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis are etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade) and adalimumab (Humira). Potential side effects include injection site irritation (adalimumab and etanercept), worsening congestive heart failure (infliximab), blood disorders, lymphoma, demyelinating diseases, and increased risk of infection. If you have an active infection, don't take these medications.

* Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra). IL-1Ra is another type of biologic response modifier and is a recombinant form of the naturally occurring interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra). Interleukin-1 (IL-1) is a cell protein that promotes inflammation and occurs in excess amounts in people who have rheumatoid arthritis or other types of inflammatory arthritis. If IL-1 is prevented from binding to its receptor, the inflammatory response decreases. The first IL-1Ra that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in people with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis who haven't responded adequately to conventional DMARD therapy is anakinra (Kineret). It may be used alone or in combination with methotrexate. Anakinra is given as a daily self-administered injection under the skin. Some potential side effects include injection site reactions, decreased white blood cell counts, headache and an increase in upper respiratory infections. There may be a slightly higher rate of respiratory infections in people who have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. If you have an active infection, don't use anakinra.

* Abatacept (Orencia). Abatacept, a type of costimulation modulator approved in late 2005, reduces the inflammation and joint damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis by inactivating T cells — a type of white blood cell. People who haven't been helped by TNF blockers might consider abatacept, which is administered monthly through a vein in your arm (intravenously). Side effects may include headache, nausea and mild infections, such as upper respiratory tract infections. Serious infections, such as pneumonia, can occur.

* Rituximab (Rituxan). Rituximab reduces the number of B cells in your body. B cells are involved in inflammation. Though originally approved for use in people with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, rituximab was approved for rheumatoid arthritis in early 2006. People who haven't found relief using TNF blockers might consider using rituximab, which is usually given along with methotrexate. Rituximab is administered as an infusion into a vein in your arm. Side effects include flu-like signs and symptoms, such as fever, chills and nausea. Some people experience extreme reactions to the infusion, such as difficulty breathing and heart problems.

* Antidepressant drugs. Some people with arthritis also experience symptoms of depression. The most common antidepressants used for arthritis pain and nonrestorative sleep are amitriptyline, nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor) and trazodone (Desyrel).

Surgical or other procedures

Although a combination of medication and self-care is the first course of action for rheumatoid arthritis, other methods are available for severe cases:

* Prosorba column. This blood-filtering technique removes certain antibodies that contribute to pain and inflammation in your joints and muscles and is usually performed once a week for 12 weeks as an outpatient procedure. Some of the side effects include fatigue and a brief increase in joint pain and swelling for the first few days after the treatment. The Prosorba column treatment isn't recommended if you're taking angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or if you have heart problems, high blood pressure or blood-clotting problems.

* Joint replacement surgery. For many people with rheumatoid arthritis, medicines and therapies can't prevent joint destruction. When joints are severely damaged, joint replacement surgery can often help restore joint function, reduce pain or correct a deformity. You may need to have an entire joint replaced with a metal or plastic prosthesis. Surgery may also involve tightening tendons that are too loose, loosening tendons that are too tight, fusing bones to reduce pain or removing part of a diseased bone to improve mobility. Your doctor may also remove the inflamed joint lining (synovectomy).

More On This Topic

* Steroid use: Balancing the risks and benefits
* Are COX-2 drugs safe for you? An interview with a Mayo Clinic specialist
* Knee replacement: Surgery can relieve pain

Self-care

Treating rheumatoid arthritis typically involves using a combination of medical treatments and self-care strategies. The following self-care procedures are important elements for managing the disease:

* Exercise regularly. Different types of exercise achieve different goals. Check with your doctor or physical therapist first and then begin a regular exercise program for your specific needs. If you can walk, walking is a good starter exercise. If you can't walk, try a stationary bicycle with little or no resistance or do hand or arm exercises. A chair exercise program may be helpful. Aquatic exercise is another option, and many health clubs with pools offer such classes.

It's good to move each joint in its full range of motion every day. As you move, maintain a slow, steady rhythm. Don't jerk or bounce. Also, remember to breathe. Holding your breath can temporarily deprive your muscles of oxygen and tire them. It's also important to maintain good posture while you exercise. Avoid exercising tender, injured or severely inflamed joints. If you feel new joint pain, stop. New pain that lasts more than two hours after you exercise probably means you've overdone it. If pain persists for more than a few days, call your doctor.

* Control your weight. Excess weight puts added stress on joints in your back, hips, knees and feet — the places where arthritis pain is commonly felt. Excess weight can also make joint surgery more difficult and risky.

* Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet emphasizing fruit, vegetables and whole grains can help you control your weight and maintain your overall health, allowing you to deal better with your arthritis. However, there's no special diet that can be used to treat arthritis. It hasn't been proved that eating any particular food will make your joint pain or inflammation better or worse.

* Apply heat. Heat will help ease your pain, relax tense, painful muscles and increase the regional flow of blood. One of the easiest and most effective ways to apply heat is to take a hot shower or bath for 15 minutes. Other options include using a hot pack, an electric heat pad set on its lowest setting or a radiant heat lamp with a 250-watt reflector heat bulb to warm specific muscles and joints. If your skin has poor sensation or if you have poor circulation, don't use heat treatment.

* Apply cold for occasional flare-ups. Cold may dull the sensation of pain. Cold also has a numbing effect and decreases muscle spasms. Don't use cold treatments if you have poor circulation or numbness. Techniques may include using cold packs, soaking the affected joints in cold water and ice massage.

* Practice relaxation techniques. Hypnosis, guided imagery, deep breathing and muscle relaxation can all be used to control pain.

* Take your medications as recommended. By taking medications regularly instead of waiting for pain to build, you will lessen the overall intensity of your discomfort.

Coping skills

The degree to which rheumatoid arthritis affects your daily activities depends in part on how well you cope with the disease. Physical and occupational therapists can help you devise strategies to cope with specific limitations you may experience as the result of weakness or pain. Here are some general suggestions to help you cope:

* Keep a positive attitude. With your doctor, make a plan for managing your arthritis. This will help you feel in charge of your disease. Studies show that people who take control of their treatment and actively manage their arthritis experience less pain and make fewer visits to the doctor.

* Use assistive devices. A painful knee may need a brace for support. You might also want to use a cane to take some of the stress off the joint as you walk. Use the cane in the hand opposite the affected joint. If your hands are affected, various helpful tools and gadgets are available to help you maintain an active lifestyle. Contact your pharmacy or doctor for information on ordering items that may help you the most.

* Know your limits. Rest when you're tired. Arthritis can make you prone to fatigue and muscle weakness. A rest or short nap that doesn't interfere with nighttime sleep may help.

* Avoid grasping actions that strain your finger joints. Instead of using a clutch purse, for example, select one with a shoulder strap. Use hot water to loosen a jar lid and pressure from your palm to open it, or use a jar opener. Don't twist or use your joints forcefully.

* Spread the weight of an object over several joints. For instance, use both hands to lift a heavy pan.

* Take a break. Periodically relax and stretch.

* Maintain good posture. Poor posture causes uneven weight distribution and may strain ligaments and muscles. The easiest way to improve your posture is by walking. Some people find that swimming also helps improve their posture.

* Use your strongest muscles and favor large joints. Don't push open a heavy glass door. Lean into it. To pick up an object, bend your knees and squat while keeping your back straight.

Sports Nutrition International

Sports Nutrition International

Sports Nutrition International is a leading manufacturer of quality dietary supplements for athletes who put priority on strength-training and endurance. Products by Sports Nutrition International are created through reliable, peer-reviewed, published scientific research in muscle physiology vis-à-vis athletic performance and nutritional science in the field of strength & conditioning performance.

Sports Nutrition International offers a gamut of premium quality sport supplements and specializes in thermogenics, energy powder, weight loss pills, glutamine powder, creatine, weight gainers and energy pills. Ingredients are of best quality.

The following nutrients are essential to most of Sports Nutrition International’s products:

L-GLUTAMINE

This is the most abundant amino acid in the body. High concentrations are found in skeletal muscles, lung, liver, brain, and stomach tissue. Intracellular concentration of l-glutamine in the skeletal system makes up to 60 percent of total body glutamine stocks.

L-Glutamine is small in size and because of this it moves easily into muscles thus preventing muscle-breakdown and supporting muscle growth. L-Glutamine also helps the production of plasma arginine and glutamate–amino acids linked to growth.

L– glutamine should be taken on an empty stomach to improve competition for absorption.

The body's tissues need more glutamine than the amount supplied by diet and biosynthesis under certain pathological circumstances. During catabolic stress intracellular glutamine levels can drop more than 50 percent. This is when supplemental glutamine becomes necessary. In times of metabolic stress, supplemental glutamine is released into the bloodstream, where it is transported to the tissue in need.

Glutamine supplements may provide immune enhancement in endurance athletes.

GLUTAMINE PEPTIDE

Glutamine peptide is a kind of glutamine that supplies critical building blocks for larger muscle mass. Peptide-bond amino acids are easier to absorb than L-glutamine. Sports Nutrition International has added glutamine peptide to Xtreme Pro Whey™ to enhance recovery and growth.

CREATINE MONOHYDRATE

Creatine Monohydrate is one of the most popular and most effective bodybuilding supplements today. This is because of its quick-results in terms of size and strength gains. Within 2 to 3 weeks of use a person can gain 5 to 10 pounds with noticeably larger muscles.

This nutrient is naturally produced in the body and stored in muscle cells as energy. It is found in lean red meats and green leafy vegetables. However as people cannot eat voluminous amounts of these each day, supplementation is necessary to saturate the muscle cells.

Creatine renews the muscles essential energy source, ATP or adenosine triphosphate. Increased levels in muscles optimizes energy turnover meaning you’ll more energy for high power exercise and faster recovery during and after workouts. Creatine also increases the athlete’s maximum effort, delays fatigue and therefore prolongs endurance.

Products:

XTREME METHOXY RX

Xtreme Methoxy Rx is a superior anabolic formula that uses a combination of supplements to help you gain incredible amounts of lean body mass.

Xtreme Methoxy Rx contains large doses of these potent legal anabolic compounds: Methoxyflavone, Ipriflavone and Ecdysone. These compounds increase nitrogen retention through working in different pathways.

Sports Nutrition International’s customized Protein Rx™ blend, which includes a combination of Whey Isolate, Whey Peptides and micro/ultra filtered Whey Concentrate. Protein Rx™ obtains Glutamine Peptides, Taurine and Arginine to boost protein synthesis, multiply recovery times, stimulate glucose uptake and increase the release of GH.

The mixture also includes Zinc and Magnesium Aspartate plus vitamin B6, the mixture of which enhances testosterone levels, helping you obtain an anabolic effect and increase strength gains.

XTREME PRO MASS

This contains pure whey protein and glutamine peptides.

Xtreme Pro Mass provides a delicious high carbohydrate-protein ratio (2:1) to stimulate muscular growth after workout. This is an easy-mix, low-fat drink with high and low glycemic carbohydrates which provides a sustained release of energy to hard working muscle.

XTREME PRO PUMP

Xtreme Pro Pump is a creatine transport system that combines nutrients to facilitate faster absorption into muscle cells.

Xtreme Pro Pump is made of quadruple stack of Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vanadyl sulfate, Chromium peptide, and d-pinitol. This formula helps improve insulin response when blended with dextrose. This is vital for increasing muscle mass. Ipriflavone, methoxyflavone, and zinc and magnesium aspartate as additions make this formula a complete anabolic supplement.

XTREME PRO WHEY

This is made up of 100% pure whey concentrate, isolate and whey peptides. Natural digestive enzyme complex is added to improve digestibility and assimilation, thus reducing bloating commonly linked with protein ingestion.

Xtreme Pro Whey can be mixed easily with water or nonfat milk.

The Care of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The Care of Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are different forms of arthritis – each painful and possibly debilitating. Often attributed to those of advanced age, arthritis can afflict anyone and can develop for a number of reasons, depending upon the type. Since this particular disease affects the joints, the agility and mobility of the patient can be significantly impacted as it progresses – sometimes to the extent of physical deformity.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the immune system which often targets the hands of the patient. In addition to great pain and inflammation of the joints, those who suffer from this form of arthritis will often experience a deformity of the hands and fingers. The disease typically affects both hands simultaneously and can cause exquisite pain, swelling and loss of normal function, in addition to severe deformity.
In broad terms, arthritis refers to inflammation of the joints. Where rheumatoid arthritis is concerned, the actual linings of the joints is what becomes inflamed. This causes the cartilage in the joints to grow and swell, which over long term erodes the joints. This is what causes the very characteristic crippling deformities that occur in the fingers and hands of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.
People diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis comprise only 1% of the population. (Vast numbers of people who suffer from other types of arthritis.) This disease affects women much more frequently than men. So far, there is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, the only recognized treatment at this point, is to manage the pain. Doctors prescribe various remedies which depend upon the patient's medical history, overall profile and other related factors.
Of the many types of pain control, oral medications are often used to control the swelling and pain that’s associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Other options include braces and splints – which gird weakened joints and remove excessive pressure from them – and surgery, in more critical cases. The latter option not only aids in reducing pain, but also provides greater mobility and improves the appearance of the hands. These surgeries may consist of a synovectomy, osteomoty or joint replacement.
When diagnosed early enough, there are many steps that can be used to reduce pain and the other consequences of this type of arthritis. So, even though there’s no known cure, if one experiences pain, swelling, or diminished use of the hands, one should contact a doctor immediately. A plan can be outlined to reduce pain, and prepare for future surgery.
No-one should have to live with pain of arthritis, now that so much progress has been made in the field of pain management. The first steps in managing the pain may be as simple as common aspirin or other medications. If they do not work, a doctor will then prescribe medication that specifically targets arthritis pain. But before that can happen,there has to be open communication between the doctor and the patient regarding the pain early in the treatment. So, it is not advisable to suffer quietly in this case.

Tips For Reducing Your Risk

Tips For Reducing Your Risk

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number-one killer of Americans in the U.S.

Most Americans are unaware that taking precautionary measures such as consuming a healthy diet, managing stress levels and getting adequate physical activity can go a long way in reducing the risks of heart-related diseases.

Here are five simple steps that you can take to maintain a healthy heart:

• Eat a Diet Rich in Fruits and Vegetables: The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) new Dietary Guidelines say adults should consume the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables each day to lower their risk of heart disease.

• Exercise: Physical activity helps improve heart function, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and boost energy. The American Heart Association reports that 38.6 percent of United States adults say they do not engage in leisure-time physical activity. Adults should have at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week.

• Add Fiber to Your Diet: Fiber offers many heart-health benefits, including lowering the risk of coronary heart disease and blood cholesterol. Try to get the recommended amount of fiber (25 to 30 grams) in your daily diet.

• Consume Omega-3s: Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (EPA and DHA) help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system by maintaining cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are seafood, such as salmon, tuna, crab and shrimp.

• Supplement Your Diet: A good supplement can function as your nutritional seat belt. Health professionals, including doctors, nutritionists and even the Food and Drug Association (FDA), agree that many diets in the U.S. lack optimum levels of many key nutrients such as antioxidants, omega-3s and plant sterols required to maintain a healthy heart and that adding a daily multivitamin or dietary supplement can help fill the nutritional gaps.

Herbalife, a leading provider of nutritional supplements, has developed, with the guidance of Nobel Laureate in Medicine Dr. Louis Ignarro, a line of heart- health supplements with ingredients for key areas of cardiovascular health for adults, including maintaining healthy cholesterol, triglyceride and homocysteine levels already within the normal ranges and healthy circulation.

Your Questions On Canine Hip Dysplasia – Answered.

Your Questions On Canine Hip Dysplasia – Answered.

What is canine hip dysplasia?

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is one of the most frustrating diseases in veterinary medicine today simply because it is so difficult to prevent and treat. CHD is a developmental disease of the bones in which the head of the thigh bone poorly fits the hip socket, causing damage to the cartilage, gradual destruction of the joint, pain and swelling. This disease should not be confused with hip arthritis. Rather, it is the most common cause of arthritis in the hips.

How is canine hip dysplasia transmitted?

CHD is a heritable disease. It is passed on by the parents to the offspring. The only effective measure therefore to eradicate the disease is to prevent dogs with hip dysplasia from breeding. However, this is easier said than done, because not all dogs with hip dysplasia show signs of the disease. Seemingly normal dogs still carry the gene for CHD and are bred, causing the disease to stay within the genepool.

How does one know if a dog has hip dysplasia?

A dog with hip dysplasia generally has less energy and movement. It has difficulty rising from a sitting position, lameness in the back legs, is hopping like a rabbit when running, and is reluctant to go up the stairs. However, these symptoms are usually not evident till the dog reaches middle age. In extreme cases though, some dogs exhibit obvious hip problems as early as 5-6 months of age.

How does a vet confirm if a dog has hip dysplasia?

Sad to say, there is no blood test or genetic test yet that will detect if a dog is a carrier of CHD or not. Diagnosis of the disease is routinely done through physical examinations and x-rays. X-rays help in assessing how bad the condition is, and through comparison with future x-rays, it can also serve as a gauge of how well the chosen treatment is working. Two techniques for taking x-rays of CHD-afflicted dogs are listed below:

1.hip-extended ventrodorsal view x-ray – It provides a frontal view of the pelvis and hip-joints and best assesses the degree of severity of arthritis present.

2.PennHIP radiography technique – It is used to detect hip looseness in dogs as young as four months of age.

What are the treatment options for canine hip dysplasia?

There is no real cure for CHD just yet, but there are conservative or non-surgical ways to relieve its symptoms. These include the use of drugs to relieve pain and inflammation. Rimadyl, Ectogesic and Deramaxx are effective and have given a lot of suffering dogs the relief needed to live a normal life. Weight loss programs, controlled exercise and physical therapy are also very effective in certain cases.

When conservative treatment is not enough, the only other option is surgery. Surgery can be very effective as it corrects the underlying cause of hip pain which is a malformed joint. Surgery is approached in two different ways when dealing with hip dysplasia. Prophylactic surgery is done to prevent the progression af arthritis while therapeutic surgery aims to treat already arthritic hips.

Triple pelvic osteotomy is the primary preventive procedure available. It involves cutting the pelvis in three places and rotating the hip sockets to provide better coverage. This procedure is effective as long as it is done before arthritis sets in or before the joint is damaged. Another kind of preventive surgery, although still being studied if it is effective or not, is pubic symphysiodesis. This involves manipulating the way the pelvis grows to ensure a tighter hip. This procedure is done on very young dogs.

Therapeutic procedures include total hip replacement and femoral head ostectomy. Total hip replacement is performed mainly on larger dogs. High density, medical plastic is used to replace the socket and a high-quality, non-corrosive alloy is used for the ball. This procedure has a high success rate, almost completely eliminates pain and enables the dog to completely resume activity.

Another therapeutic procedure for hip dysplasia is femoral head ostectomy. It involves the removal of the top of the femur which then eliminates the painful grinding at the hip joint. The femur is then allowed to float freely causing the formation of scar tisue which then serves as a false joint. This procedure is not recommended for mild cases of arthritis and is generally effective only on smaller, well-muscled dogs.

Can canine hip dysplasia be prevented?

The best measure of prevention is of course careful breeding since hip dysplasia is a heritable condition. The onset of hip dysplasia can be delayed in many dogs with a genetic predisposition by preventing excessive weight gain during the early months and by making sure that the puppy does not place undue stress on the hips.

OFA and PennHip offers information on breed risk. Prospective puppy buyers are advised to check for pedigrees for OFA, PennHip or GDC certifications.